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Music on Christmas Morning.

‘In preparing the programme for our latest Naxos album, we were particularly delighted to be able to include in our mix of Christmas carols the world premiere recording of a beautiful new work by the brilliant young composer Helena Paish. Commissioned by Vasari before the COVID lockdown and premiered online, socially distanced, we finally performed the carol live in 2022. A moving arrangement of a Ukrainian lullaby by royal-commission composer Roxanna Panufnik is another particular highlight for us. We very much hope you enjoy the mix of the familiar and the fresh as much as we have enjoyed recording them.’

Jeremy Backhouse

‘My association with the Vasari Singers goes back a long way; I was only just starting out as a singer myself and joined them as a guest when they won the Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year competition. They have remained friends ever since and so it gives me a special pleasure to join them as a guest for their most recent recording projects, as they continue to combine a sense of friendship and camaraderie with the pursuit of choral excellence to the highest standards.’

Roderick Williams

Christmas is a time for special musical experiences, from gentle traditional carols to rousing calls for worship. This recording fully represents the Vasari Singers’ renowned seasonal programmes, mixing familiar festive fun with newly inspired creations such as the world premiere recording of Helena Paish’s beautiful setting of words by the youngest of the Brontë sisters. From the evocative narrative of Finzi’s In Terra Pax to the joyous potpourri of A Merry Little Christmas, this, like the Vasari Singers’ previous Christmas release, A Winter’s Light (Naxos 8.573030), is a recording to treasure.

Listen to Ding Dong! Merrily on High, arr. Stuart Nicholson
About the Artists

Jeremy Backhouse is one of Britain’s leading choral conductors who has been the sole conductor of the internationally renowned chamber choir Vasari Singers since its inception in 1980. Alongside the standard classical works, he has conducted the choir in a vast array of ambitious programmes, including sell-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Vasari Singers is regarded as one of the leading chamber choirs in Britain. The choir regularly sings at major concert venues and other locations in London and elsewhere, including abroad. The ensemble’s extensive discography includes a large collection of premiere recordings, many of which are of works commissioned by the choir, as well as two collections of Christmas music.

Roderick Williams is one of the most sought-after baritones of his generation and enjoys collaborations with all the major UK and European opera houses. He has also performed in concert with many leading international orchestras and ensembles. In demand as a recitalist, he has performed at major venues worldwide and festival appearances have included the BBC Proms (Last Night 2014), Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh and Melbourne.

Martin Ford is the acting sub-organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, and the organist and director of music of The Guards’ Chapel. His wide-ranging freelance career encompasses a variety of engagements as an organist, piano accompanist, choral director and teacher. His discography includes a number of releases with the Vasari Singers on the Naxos label, and two albums with the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford for Harmonia Mundi.

More albums by the Vasari Singers
‘The Vasari Singers do a sterling job with all this material, and they have been afforded excellent sound and balance within the Chapel of Tonbridge School in Kent. …This is certainly recommendable.’
‘The Vasari Singers ... certainly are an outstanding ensemble. The Naxos recording is one of their best, and captures so well these superbly curated and delivered performances.’
MusicWeb International
‘[A] very satisfying selection of anthems, essential listening for anyone fond of Anglican church music.’

Vasari Singers • Backhouse
‘The [Vasari Singers] are exemplary in their dedication to music new and old, and display a fine tonal quality of exceptional intonation and technical ability.’
Audiophile Audition ★★★★
For the full list of the Vasari Singers’ discography on Naxos, follow this link.

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